A weekend of final action

Compiled by Jackie Cahill

THERE’S more provincial silverware up for grabs over the coming weekend – with finals scheduled in Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

In the TG4 Munster Senior Final in Mallow on Saturday (4pm), Cork will look to make it five successive titles when they take on Kerry, a game that is preceded by the Senior B decider between Limerick and Cork.

Also on Saturday, Derry and Fermanagh go head to head in the Ulster Junior decider, which is followed on Sunday by the Ulster Intermediate and Senior Finals in a Clones double-header.

Down and Monaghan meet in the Intermediate Final, before holders Donegal put their senior title on the line against Lidl NFL Division 1 champions Armagh (3.30pm).

Also on Sunday, the 2024 TG4 Leinster Junior and Intermediate champions will be crowned in Portlaoise.

Holders Carlow take on Louth in the Junior decider, before Westmeath and Wexford battle it out for the Intermediate title.

The Munster and Ulster Senior Finals will be live-streamed via the Spórt TG4 YouTube channel, the Ulster Junior Final is live on Ulster LGFA Facebook and YouTube, while the Ulster Intermediate Final will be shown on the Ulster LGFA Facebook Page.

The Leinster LGFA Facebook page and YouTube channel will provide live coverage of their Junior and Intermediate Finals.

Saturday May 18

Munster Senior B Final – Limerick v Cork (B), Mallow, 2pm
Clare were champions in 2023 but opted not to compete this year.

Cork and Kerry’s B selections did participate, along with Limerick, and following the round-robin phase, it’s Limerick and Cork who will compete for the silverware on offer.

Limerick will be looking for a provincial boost before thoughts switch to the TG4 All-Ireland series, where they find themselves in group B alongside Kilkenny, Louth and Longford.

Limerick: S Hennessy; J McGuire, Y Lee (capt.), R Browne; G Lee, L Coughlan, L Ryan; R Ambrose, M MacNamara; K O’Leary, D Murphy, C Mee; E Woulfe, I Kennelly, C McGrath.

Cork: C Moore (capt.); S Callanan, C Heffernan, R Sheehan; E Murphy, R Shanley, L Mahoney; K Redmond, A O’Sullivan; G Murphy, E Hurley, E Murphy; N O’Mahony, O Roche, K Horgan.

TG4 Munster Senior Championship Final  Cork v Kerry; Mallow, 4pm – Live on Spórt TG4 YouTube
Cork are going in search of a fifth successive Munster Senior title – as Kerry aim to end a provincial drought that stretches back to 2017.

The sides have already met in the round-robin phase of the competition, a fixture won by Kerry, but Cork’s victories over Waterford and Tipperary saw them through to the final, as Kerry won all three group games.

Cork needed a late point from Sadbh McGoldrick to see off Tipperary and book a final place and after running Kerry to four points when the sides met towards the end of April, the Leesiders will be looking for another good performance.

Kerry will start as favourites as they look to regain the title last won seven years ago but Cork won’t fear the Kingdom, who are viewed as one of the leading contenders for All-Ireland glory.

Cork have made two changes in personnel following the Tipperary win, with goalkeeper Sarah Murphy coming in for Caoimhe Richmond, while Lydia McDonagh replaces Libby Coppinger.

Kerry have made ten changes to the team that accounted for Waterford last time out, with Mary Ellen Bolger replacing Ciara Butler in goal, while there are also starts for Kayleigh Cronin, Ciara Murphy, Cáit Lynch, Mary O’Connell, Anna Galvin, captain Niamh Carmody, Katie Brosnan, Danielle O’Leary and Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

Along with Butler, Kate O’Sullivan, Aoife Dillane, Róisín Rahilly, Lorraine Scanlon, Róisín Smith, Amy Harrington, Hannah O’Donoghue, Emma Dineen and Jaydn Lucey drop out of the starting line-up.

Cork: S Murphy; M Duggan, D Kiniry, A Ryan; S Leahy, A Healy, K O’Driscoll; M O’Callaghan (capt.), A O’Mahony; K Quirke, D Kiely, A McDonagh; L McDonagh, L O’Mahony, E Cleary.

Kerry: M.E. Bolger; E Lynch, K Cronin, C Murphy; A O’Connell, C Lynch, E O’Connor; M O’Connell, A Galvin; N Carmody (capt.), N Ní Chonchúir, D Kearney; K Brosnan, D O’Leary, L Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

TG4 Ulster Junior Championship Final   Derry v Fermanagh; Fr Hackett Park, St Macartans, Augher, Tyrone, 2pm – Live on Ulster LGFA Facebook and YouTube
Fermanagh will be hoping to atone for last year’s final loss to Down when they take on Derry.

Down went on to land the TG4 All-Ireland Junior crown and are operating at Intermediate level this year – paving the way for a straight Junior shoot-out between Derry and Fermanagh in Ulster.

Four points separated the sides when they met in Division 4 of the Lidl NFL in March and Derry will look to be competitive once again.

Derry were Ulster Junior champions last in 2018, as Fermanagh go in search of victory in this competition for the first time since 2017, a year that saw Sunday’s opponents meet in the provincial and All-Ireland Finals.

Derry: E Conway; H Mullan, A McGough, J Corr (capt.); O McGough, S Hargan, A Martin; B Donnelly, A Kilpatrick; Erin Doherty, C O’Kane, M Devine; Emma Doherty, D McKeever, L Casey.

Fermanagh: R Gleeson; C Clarke, K Murphy, E Keenan; S McQuade (capt.), C Murphy, L Maguire; B Bannon, C.C. Bogue; D Maguire, J Doonan, A McCabe; B Bogue, E Smyth, B Smyth.

Sunday May 19

TG4 Leinster Junior Championship Final  Carlow v Louth; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 3.30pm – Live on Leinster LGFA Facebook and YouTube
Louth’s victory in the final round of group fixtures against Longford booked their place in Sunday’s decider.

Carlow, the holders, had to win big against Kilkenny to join the Wee County and they did, to set up this Portlaoise showpiece.

Carlow are riding the crest of a wave after landing the Lidl NFL Division 4 title and will now look to add more silverware to their 2024 haul.

But Louth have a good record in the Leinster Junior Championship, winning it most recently in 2018 and 2019.

And the Wee County will be hoping to turn the tables on Carlow, who won impressively when the sides met in the group stages of the provincial campaign.

Carlow: N Hanley; A Carroll, A Roche, S McCullagh; R Bermingham (capt.), N Murphy, N Forde; E Hayden, R Bailey; B Nolan, R Sawyer, S Doyle; E Molloy, E Coogan, C Ní Shé.

Louth: R Lambe Fagan; A Whyte, L Byrne, E Murray; H Lambe Sally, E Hand, C Nolan; A Halligan, A Breen (capt.); M Duffy, E Byrne, R O’Connor Leonard; N Rice, K Flood, A Russell.

TG4 Leinster Intermediate Championship Final  Westmeath v Wexford; Laois Hire O’Moore Park, Portlaoise, 5.30pm – Live on Leinster LGFA Facebook and YouTube
Kildare won this competition for the past two seasons but the Lilywhites are now operating in the senior ranks, which paves the way for Westmeath or Wexford to claim Intermediate provincial silverware.

When the sides met in the group stages, Wexford ran out four-point winners and a similar result would hand the Slaneysiders a first Leinster Intermediate title since 2019.

You have to go further back to find Westmeath’s last victory in this competition, which was achieved in 2011.

The winners of this game will join Roscommon and Antrim in Group 3 of the TG4 All-Ireland Championship, while the losers will find themselves in Group 1 alongside the Ulster winners, Down or Monaghan, and Cavan.

Westmeath: L McCormack (capt.); L Kiernan, M Newman, R Dillon; T Dillon, L Power, F Coyle; V Carr, K Boyce-Jordan; A Jones, K Hegarty, C Kelly; S Dillon, L Slevin, A Ruane.

Wexford: S McCarthy; K English, M Byrne, A Power; C Banville, A Halligan, S Harding Kenny; R Murphy (capt.), C Donnelly; B McDonald, K Kearney, A Cullen; C Ni Nuallain, C Foxe, C Murray.

TG4 Ulster Intermediate Championship Final Down v Monaghan; Clones, 1pm – Live on Ulster LGFA Facebook
Having won the TG4 Ulster Junior and All-Ireland titles last year, Down will now be looking to make further progress in the Intermediate grade.

And Down have been impressive to date in the province, beating Cavan in a preliminary round fixture before bagging 8-16 against 2023 champions Antrim at the semi-final stage.

On the other side of the draw, Monaghan’s green shoots of recovery continued to show as they accounted for Tyrone, who will play Lidl NFL Division 1 football next year.

That was an extremely positive result for the Farney County, who were relegated from the senior grade in 2022.

Before thoughts turn to the All-Ireland series, Monaghan will look for a maiden victory in the Ulster Intermediate championship, after a 30-year stint at senior level ended two years ago, as Down seek their first provincial Intermediate title since 2021.

The winners of Sunday’s final will join the beaten Leinster finalists, Westmeath or Wexford, and Cavan in Group 1 of the TG4 All-Ireland Intermediate Championship, with the losers to play Clare and Offaly in Group 2.

Down: A McGivern; A Greene, C Byrne, P Smyth; C Mulvenna, N McKibbin, O Duffy; M Doherty (capt.), A Laverty; N Scullion, N King, L Duffy; N McClory, S Dougherty, V McCormack.

Monaghan: Ó Kelly; A Bannigan, N Cogan, K Nolan; A Garland, M Monaghan (capt.), Á Loughman; J Duffy, E Carolan; S Tierney, É Sherry, C Treanor; L Maguire, J Drury, L Garland.

TG4 Ulster Senior Championship Final Armagh v Donegal; Clones, 3.30pm – Live on Spórt TG4 YouTube  and BBC iPlayer
Armagh’s surge to a very first Lidl NFL Division 1 title has seen them installed as one of the favourites for TG4 All-Ireland Senior glory.

Before they embark on the All-Ireland trail, Armagh have an Ulster Senior Final against Donegal ahead of them, and they won’t need reminding that Sunday’s opponents won last year’s provincial decider between the sides.

Armagh were pre-match favourites for that one, as they are again, but Donegal will provide stern opposition again.

Between them, the counties have hoovered up the last seven Ulster senior titles, with Armagh winning in 2020, 2021 and 2022, while Donegal were champions last year and previously in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Looking further back, it’s been Armagh or Donegal all the way in Ulster since 2014, with Monaghan in 2016 the only county to interrupt the duopoly.

Armagh’s last outing was the Lidl NFL Division 1 Final victory over Kerry on April 7 and, perhaps not surprisingly, manager Gregory McGonigle has named an unchanged starting line-up.

Donegal concluded their Division 2 campaign with victory over Tipperary and there are three changes in personnel in the side named by manager John McNulty.

Abigail Temple Asokuh, Katie Dowds and Jenny McGettigan are called in for starts, with Laoise Ryan, Patrice Boyle and Jodie McFadden making way.

The winners of Sunday’s Ulster Final will join Meath and Tipperary in Group 1 of the All-Ireland series, with the runners-up facing the Munster champions, Kerry or Cork, and Waterford in Group 2.

Armagh: A Carr; G Ferguson, C McCambridge (capt.), R Mulligan; C Towe, L McConville, D Coleman; N Coleman, C O’Hanlon; E Druse, A McCoy, L Kenny; A Mackin, N Henderson, K Mallon

Donegal: C Friel; S McLaughlin, A Temple Asokuh, E McGinley; K Dowds, N Boyle, T Hegarty; R Rodgers, J McGettigan; C Keon, N McLaughlin (capt.), A Boyle Carr; S White, K Herron, K Long.

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